In the absence of effective legislation, European ISPs (Internet service providers) and government agencies have begun to resort to other tactics. In July, several U.K. government bodies signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Trade Commission and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to coordinate their efforts against spammers; other European countries are pursuing similar individual agreements. In June, British Telecom helped form a coalition of international ISPs, including Yahoo, Microsoft Corp., Earthlink, America Online and Comcast, that will promote best practices for blocking fraudulent e-mails and shutting down "zombie" spam relay machines.On Wednesday a coalition of 150 U.K. ISPs launched a similar campaign at a more grassroots level. The London Internet Exchange, or LINX, which handles more than 90 percent of the U.K.s Internet traffic, published a Best Current Practice document targeting companies who host a Web site with a reputable ISP, while promoting themselves via junk messages on a different network or through a third party. LINX believes the policy will soon be adopted by RIPE (Réseaux IP Européens), which sets ISP policy for more than 90 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa, and is promoting its standard through international organizations such as Euro-IX, the World Summit on the Information Society and the OECD. LINXs member ISPs have little faith that laws can make a significant impact on spam, according to a LINX spokesman. "ISPs are on the front line and can respond much more swiftly than a legislative approach," the spokesman told eWEEK. "Spam is produced by companies that are here today, gone tomorrow, and that makes it difficult to take action. Were hoping that this will be adopted as best current practice across Europe and internationally." He added that it makes economic sense for ISPs to take direct action when possible, as theyre paying for the infrastructure that carries spammers traffic. Check out eWEEK.coms Messaging & Collaboration Center for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.
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